OTTAWA — China’s ambassador says his country firmly rejects Canada’s attempts to entrench labour standards in a free trade pact.
Envoy Lu Shaye says Canada’s so-called progressive trade agenda has no place in a free trade agreement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unable to persuade China’s leaders to formally entrench labour, gender, environment and governance issues in the negotiating framework of free trade talks.
Trudeau spent four days in China in December but left without a formal commitment to moving the free trade talks past the exploratory phase into formal negotiations.
Lu says Canada’s insistence on pushing labour standards in the NAFTA talks with Mexico to raise wages would only lead to the shuttering of Mexican auto plants and lost jobs.
Lu says starting a free trade negotiation with Canada would send a strong message to the world as it contends with the Trump administration’s “America First” protectionism.
The Canadian Press